Bishop Libasci's Comment on Amoris Laetitia
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
April 8, 2016
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Bishop Libasci’s Comment on Pope Francis’
Apostolic Exhortation Amoris Laetitia
After the release of Amoris Laetitia, Pope Francis’ Apostolic Exhortation on the family, the Most Reverend Peter A. Libasci, Bishop of Manchester, made the following statement:
“Coming on the heels of the two recent Synods of Bishops, Pope Francis’ Apostolic Exhortation Amoris Laetitia (‘The Joy of Love’) issues a challenge to all Catholics: it calls us all to better appreciate the gift of married love, to more attentively listen to those who feel wounded, to accompany them with compassion, not judgement, and to ‘enter into the reality of other people’s lives and to know the power of tenderness’ (308).
“The Church feels the challenge of a changing culture and must reassess its efforts in helping those who, for example, are divorced and remarried to know that they are welcome. Sometimes what the Church actually teaches and why it holds these teachings is not communicated as effectively as others’ perceptions of who and what we are about. That is exactly why Pope Francis calls upon us to make a bold effort: so that all Catholics—indeed all people of good will—will see the effort that the Church is making to be close to them, regardless of what their situation might be or how alienated from the Church they may feel.
“Pope Francis wants us to look to the families who through their faith have found a deeper love, even in the midst of sacrifice and difficulty. Through their witness the Church is enriched and can better reach out to those who are in need. So many in our diocese are already engaged in many activities that point toward this goal. In addition to sacramental and liturgical celebrations in parishes, they join faith formation programs for children and adults in a variety of formats, including in Catholic schools throughout the state. Engaged and married couples find support for their journeys though programs like Engaged Encounter and Marriage Enrichment Circles. And many who are experiencing problems in their marriage have found support through, for example, the Retrouvaille program, and those sacraments of healing that offer new beginnings.
“In the coming months the Diocese of Manchester will be making a concerted effort to expand and strengthen these initiatives, to help married couples deepen their relationship with each other and with God, to help parents build up and develop their parenting skills, and to help families strengthen their relationship across generations and to share their time, talent and treasure with those in need and the most vulnerable, so that all can see more clearly and feel more deeply ‘The Joy of Love’ through closer union with Jesus Christ.
“Today I am asking every Catholic in our diocese to join with me in making Pope Francis’ vision a reality. Amoris Laetitia is not some dry theoretical text without any connection to people’s very real problems. I hope that you will read it, slowly and deliberately, and prayerfully consider how you can answer the Holy Father’s call to be a witness to the Father’s mercy in our world, and to have a wider impact on the larger culture.
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The Diocese of Manchester is the Roman Catholic Church in New Hampshire, serving the needs of more than 264,000 Catholics. For more information, please visit www.catholicnh.org.